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sadsilly

Heath Information

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Hello. i was looking at getting in to buying a 3D printer. main issue is i want to put it on my home desk but i been reading all these topic on health issue with running a 3D printer in an enclose space. i was wondering if the newer model fix this problem or do i need to build some kinda filter system to protect myself?.

 

Thanks for any information i can get :).

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As far as I know, the issues with enclosed spaces are the filaments themselves and not the printer. The printer is an electronic device and outputs no health damaging particulates or substances. But filaments can be an issue. There are many filaments these days that are not in line with your worries and state so when you purchase them. The idea though is to make sure that you purchase from a reliable source as some may be a bit more dodgy than others as far as thoroughness of production.

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First of all we live in a Health & Safety world. They have two objectives. Firstly to keep issuing warnings to keep their jobs. Secondly to worry you to keep their jobs. Your printer is made out of metals and or wood and/or plastics. You are unlikely to eat it. If it burns you probably have greater worries. I was bought up in the 50s and 60s and spent plenty of time walking through London's pea souper fogs, with plenty of coal particulates, and I am still here with no asthma or anything similar. Do filaments when they melt give of particulates? No idea. I use predominantly PLA which is made from root vegetables, so if you like snacking that is probably good you. Open a window, well yes but difficult in the depths of winter. @kmanstudios makes a good point about buying from a reputable supplier. If the material is dangerous there will be a label on the boxing/reel saying so. Examples are ColorFabb, Ultimaker and Faberdashery. No doubt if you live in a city then staying indoors with your printer will be substantially safer than walking outside in all those diesel induced NOS fumes. Oh and never make a bacon sarnie, you never know what nasty things are in that cheap oil from the supermarket.

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You can find enclosures online with filters and such to close your printer off completely and filter the particulates and gases from the materials that requires it. You can usually buy them from your reseller or find the plans online and build it yourself if you have the necessary skills and tools.

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Or you could use a fume-extraction system similar to the one in a kitchen, and make a pipe to the outside. Or connect extra piping to existing air ventilation canals (make sure they go to the outside, not recirculating). ABS really stinks and is toxic, but most other materials like PLA, PET, NGEN, etc... only have a light smell, non-toxic as far as I know. However, in a small room, even that smell might spread everywhere and it might become very annoying to other people in the room, who often have less tolerance for what they consider weird smells, unrelated to their own activities.

 

So, for your own peace of mind, probably some ventilation is desirable. Most illnesses are stress-related, or triggered or worsened by stress (especially astma, allergies, eczema, lung problems, nose problems, stomach and intestine problems, heart problems,...). So if someone would be worrying about something, that alone might trigger those health problems he or she fears...

 

There has been some research on particle emissions from 3D-printing (I have read it, but I don't remember where, so you will need to google). But according to that study, these emissions were far less than emissions by smoking, pet animals, candles, and cooking. Your body (dead cells) and clothing (fibres) are going to give off a lot more particles.

 

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One option is to get a air purifier for your office/room.  A decent model isn't very expensive and it will refresh the air in the room and help filter out any nastiness.

 

I don't print ABS because it is stinky and general a pain to print with.  I do print PLA, various Co-polyesters, ASA (a variant of ABS without the stink), and other filaments and I don't notice much of any smell or irritation even when I don't have the purifier running.

 

As others have stated, buy your filaments from reputable manufacturers, avoid no-name brands even if the price is attractive.

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@sadsilly - if you are only printing PLA then I don't think you should worry about particulates.  The type and composition of particulates from PLA are similar to those you get frying french fries - so you are probably breathing a higher concentration of mostly the same particulates if you eat at a restaurant that serves fries.

 

Or if you cook in a wok or fry up pretty much anything - you are getting similar particulates in the air.

 

However if you plan to print ABS you might (might!) want to invest in some filters.  If you have a printer farm with 10 or more printers printing ABS I would definitely figure out a way to filter or exhaust the air.

 

But breathing air in a room where a printer is printing with PLA is probably much better for your lungs/heatlh than being in a kitchen where someone is frying bacon.

 

Note that PLA is made with corn oil.

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Ah thank again for giving me so much information i am mostly just getting in to as a hobby i been eyeing buying a 3D printer for years now. i mostly looking to get in to building headset part at moment. :) i wanted to know any extra bit of information before i go out an buy one then find out i need to buy something else to go with it :p 

 

if i built a enclosure an put a air purifier inside it would that work  ? or would i need outside source for fresh air ? an if that the case could i build enclosure an seal all the particulate then turn on air purifier after would that result in same effect for cleaning out the air or would i have to do it well it running. 

 

an well we are on the topic of enclosure / filters are there any you guys would recommend me in viewing. i do not really know anything about that.

 

 

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I have both Ultimaker2 printers sitting in a fume extraction cabinet, since I have that anyway in my laboratory, so I can as well use it... However, most of the time, I leave the extraction switched off, so there is only very little air flow through the narrow gaps in the shut-off valve (it's one central vacuum pump for all laboratories in the building, and shut-off valves at each cabinet).

 

This does not cause any smell problems for printing PLA, PET and NGEN. But for ABS I really need to switch the extraction on and close the glass lid of the cabinet.

 

So, don't let this concern stop you from printing. Just don't print ABS. Probably the best thing you could do, is find someone in your environment who has a 3D-printer (school, 3D-hub, reseller, hobby club, fab lab,...), and go have a look while they are printing.

 

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